6 Rules for Protecting the Land

For the well-being of the environment, read up on these tips on protecting the land around you.

| March 2018

  • Over 10 million Americans own forestland, but few know how to properly care for it.
    Photo by Pixabay/Free-Photos
  • “Backyard Woodland” by Josh VanBrakle helps readers who own forestland take care of their woods and get the most out of their forest property.
    Photo courtesy of Countryman Press

Backyard Woodland (Countryman Press, 2016) by Josh VanBrakle helps readers to care for and appreciate the woods in their backyard. As the first ever guide of its type for nurturing the land in Americans’ care, this book helps the 10 million Americans that own forestland to give it the attention and care it deserves. In this excerpt, he shares his six rules for protecting the land around you.

One of the most exciting—and frustrating—parts of working in forestry is that the science behind it is always changing. We’re always learning something new about woodlands, how they work, and how to care for them.

Not surprisingly, then, you’ll hear different recommendations about how to look after the land, depending on whom you talk to. Even as someone who works with forests every day, I have a hard time keeping all the ideas straight.

Regardless of the source, though, I’ve found the same overarching concepts seem to stick out. While the details vary, following these six rules will give you confidence that your actions, at least, are doing no harm to your woods.

Rule #1: Protect the Soil

When I say forest or woods, what image first comes to mind? Trees, most likely. But beneath all those trees is something even more important: the soil.

In the woods, everything starts with the soil. Soil stores the water and minerals that plants need to grow. Soil anchors trees to protect them from blowing over in storms. And when trees die, they decompose and return their nutrients to the soil, so new plants can grow. If you don’t have healthy soil, you won’t have a healthy woodland.



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